Thursday, February 5th, 2009
“Superfoods” is a buzz word in the Raw vegan world, but it’s usually referring to some exotic ingredient such as maca or goji berries. But, what earns the right to be classified as a “superfood?” Does it have to be hard to get? Not at the common store? Full of mystical powers – or at least it makes you feel as such? Or, does it just mean that it’s chock full of awesome compounds including precious antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals?
I came across an article, Top 10 Superfoods for Winter and I wanted to share some of it here. The following list includes some foods you might not have considered “superfoods” in the past if you got caught up in the typical sexy superfood whirlwind we frequently hear about in Raw circles. However, these foods deserve some cheers and should be included.
I was excited upon reading the article that eight of the ten foods listed can easily be consumed Raw. Sa-weet! Here are some bits from the article, along with my own spin on things, including links to recipes of mine featuring some of the superfoods. Enjoy!
Cinnamon has always been one of my mom’s favorite spices so she has been adding it to her recipes for most of my life. So much so that my brother and I started teasing her about it when we were growing up. Well, well, well… what do ya know? It turns out that mom knows best (sorry, Mom, it took me twenty-some years to come to this realization!). It’s been said that the compounds in cinnamon can help moderate blood sugar, improve capillary function, fight candida and inflammation, improve digestion, and may help reduce blood pressure. Cinnamon rocks the house!
Here is a recipe to get you started adding more cinnamon to your life: Blissed Out Chocolate Runner’s Smoothie.
According to the article, “Pecans have shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a lowered risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease, as well as a lower risk of Type II diabetes in women.”
Here is an easy and delicious cookie recipe that people love love love! Pecan Spice Delight Cookies.
The article also stated that “a Penn State-led review of the available evidence from 66 published studies, supports the view that consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate, in moderation, can be associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chocolate that is minimally processed and has the highest cocoa content (which means the darkest chocolate) has the highest level of flavonoids. With dark chocolate, even eating as little as 30 calories per day can have a moderate effect. (But more can make you really happy.)”
I totally agree with the author there! For a truly decadent experience with plenty of Raw vegan chocolate, you gotta make this recipe: Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.
The article mentions consuming pomegranates in the form of juice, but in my opinion, the pomegranate is best experienced in the whole form, i.e. the seeds. I want to feel spoonful after spoonful of juicy seeds burst in my mouth. My ritual of many years is donning a t-shirt that I’m happy to stain with pomegranate juice, as I seed 2-3 pomegranates at a time. I carry my bowl of precious seeds upstairs and I take pleasure in them as I enjoy a long, warm bath. That being said, I do realize the juice is much easier to come by year round.
In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld. This legend tells the story that Persephone was bound to hell because she ate a pomegranate seed(s) from Hades. I don’t know about you, but a pomegranate might just be worth it… to me they’re glamorous and sensuous. Cutting into a pomegranate is like opening a treasure chest…inside you find brilliantly sparkling, sweet-tart flavored ruby-like seeds.
The joy doesn’t stop there though. The pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants. It offers you potassium, vitamin C and niacin, making this labor intensive fruit worth the effort.
Apples are awesome. I mean, hello, an apple graces the cover of Twilight! But seriously, apples are filled with antioxidants for helping fight cancer and improve cardiovascular health. But, that’s not all. Apples also contain pectin (a great source of soluble fiber), bone-building boron, and Vitamin C. If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to selecting which variety of apple you enjoy, consider this – Red Delicious apples are reputed for having the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
Here is a great green smoothie recipe that includes both apples and cinnamon!
Fluffy Green Smoothie
Yield 1 serving
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend it up and enjoy!
Blueberries are crazy awesome for you. They’re rich in phytonutrients and shown to be some major brain food from an anti-aging perspective. In fact, they may help keep your memory sharp. The next time you forget where you park your car, eat some extra blueberries. However, there’s more to blueberries than just some brain power… Wild blueberries, in particular, are shown to help improve eyesight by reducing eye strain and improving night vision. Total score – Night Vision! Next time you want your kids (or husband – haha) to eat healthier, give them a bowl of blueberries and tell them it’ll help their night vision. :) I’ll bet they gobble them up without a second thought.
All in all, blueberries rock. They are so good for you. And, I’ve read that you can get these benefits by eating fresh or frozen blueberries (get the “wild” ones if you can). This makes eating blueberries year round much easier.
No recipe here… I just eat them straight up by the bowl!
Prunes (dried plums) are not just for shuffle board players. They’re a force to be reckoned with and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. Prunes are loaded with antioxidants (LOTS!), fiber, vitamins A & C, potassium, iron and more.
Updated 2/8: And, check this out… Plums Poised To Give Blueberries Run For The Money.
Although, I typically eat prunes by themselves, here is a delicious dressing recipe with prunes: Creamy Kickin’ Dressing.
According to the article, “A New York Times article in December suggests that cabbage is the most important [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting ability. Cabbage possesses phytochemicals including sulforaphane, which studies suggest protects the body against cancer-causing free radicals, and indoles, which help metabolize estrogens. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Now, most people associate cabbage recipes with cole slaw. And, it’s definitely a good source for it. However, to concentrate lots of those valuable nutrients in one serving, I also get my cabbage in the form of fresh organic Plant Blood. When I juice it, I include lots of purple cabbage, an apple or two, a carrot or two, and fresh ginger.
So, there you have it. 8 great superfoods for winter (and year round if you ask me!).
Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
I had a fun interview with Revvell of Rawkin Radio, which is now available here.
Just a few of the things we chatted about…
~my bodybuilding experience and how I found vegan and then Raw
~tips for eating Raw in the winter
~getting kids and family into Raw
~supplements… are they important? who should take them?
~exercise and my latest endeavor
~changing one’s mindset
~digestion (poop is important!)
Oh! And if you haven’t entered for your chance to win the Lexen Healthy Juicer, you can do so here.
Friday, January 30th, 2009
I’m featuring this salad recipe in my email newsletter this month (sign up here), and I wanted to share it here… because it’s SO good! This highly nutritious salad is refreshing, delicious, and full of flavors that combine effortlessly to deliver one awesome salad.
Kale freakin’ rocks the nutrient house! And, no, it’s not something that is just meant to decorate salad bars (as my husband used to think – ha ha!). It’s loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients shown to help fight cancer, aid in detoxification, and fill you up with super star nutrition including iron, calcium, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and much more!
Fennel Orange Kale Salad
By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 2 servings
1 medium bunch curly kale
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons hemp oil
3/4 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced*
1 cup orange, peeled, seeded & chopped
8 kalamata olives, pitted & chopped
1 tablespoon fennel leaves, chopped
Destem the kale. You can leave the more tender parts of the stem (toward the top of each leaf) in the salad, but the harder stems toward the bottom of each leaf should be torn out. Tear apart the kale leaves (or use a knife and chop them) into bite-size pieces.
Place the torn kale into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, hemp oil, orange zest, salt, and nutmeg. Take a minute and massage all of these ingredients together with your hands. Add the fennel, orange, olives and fennel leaves, and gently toss to mix. Enjoy!
* I use a handheld V-slicer
Sunday, January 18th, 2009
Today I made Warming Plant Blood (recipe at the end of this post), which includes one of my all-time favorite ingredients – Ginger. I always have fresh organic ginger in my house. I love adding it to juices, smoothies, salads, and other Raw vegan dishes (it’s so nourishing). I’ve often referred to garlic as the king of spices. The queen spot goes to ginger. It rocks.
Ginger offers multiple health benefits. It has warming qualities, as noted in the recipe title Warming Plant Blood. When I feel cold in the winter, I start adding more ginger to my diet. Even though most of my food is Raw (and sometimes a little chilly by nature), adding ginger helps make my digestion and body feel like it’s warming up. Speaking of digestion, ginger is a major helper in that department. Next time you have an upset tummy, try drinking some warm water with a little fresh grated ginger, lemon juice and maybe a dash of raw agave nectar or a drop of stevia. Or, simply drink some ginger tea from a box. I just picked some up at Whole Foods last night from the company Traditional Medicinals. They have a nice tea called Organic Ginger. If I think I’ll have a meal that might challenge my digestive system, I often drink a cup of this about a half hour before the meal.
Ginger is a rich source of powerful antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties, and there is evidence that ginger’s antioxidants might help fight/inhibit the growth of certain types of cancers. Not only that, but studies show ginger can also help boost the immune system.
Storing ginger is easy. Fresh ginger can be stored for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator (or up to 6 months in the freezer) when tightly wrapped.
Warming Plant Blood
Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw
Yield 1-2 servings
1-inch piece of fresh ginger*
1 medium/large-ish beet
1 bunch of baby red Swiss chard**
I used my Breville juicer to juice the ingredients.
* This is a lot of ginger and it definitely gives the juice a kick and immediate warming sensation. You might try half this amount and taste the juice. Then, decide if you want to add more.
** The baby red Swiss chard I used today was from the farmer’s market (locally grown, organic – YAY!). The leaves were little, which is why I referred to it as “baby” Swiss chard. If I was using a regular, full grown bunch, I probably would have juiced 1/2 – 3/4 of the bunch.
For more information on great juicers, check out my blog post, My Favorite Juicers – GreenStar and Breville.
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Aaaaahhhhh LEMONS! Aaaaahhhhh MACADAMIA NUTS! These two ingredients are a couple of my favorites and I’m excited to feature a delicious Raw vegan recipe with them. Capri Lemon Chocolate Bars – major deliciousness if you like lemon and macadamia nuts. These bars are dense, full of flavor and a little goes a long way. Sometimes I have it for dessert and sometimes I eat a little one for breakfast with my cup of tea. Don’t you just love that you can have dessert for breakfast when it comes to Raw food?
I love lemons because they’re so refreshing and good for you. Lemons are alkalizing and an excellent source for vitamin C. But, that’s not all. These yellow darlings have folate, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and flavonoids (known for fighting cancer and heart disease!). I had dreams of the Italian island of Capri when making this recipe because they’re known for lemons. The island is filled with lemon trees and they put lemon in just about everything.
I love macadamia nuts because they’re buttery-rich in flavor and texture… and unbelievably satiating. This nut is good for you! They provide monounsaturated fat, which is shown time and again with helping to lower levels of heart disease and cancer. Macadamia nuts are loaded with nutrition such as… phosphorus, calcium, potassium, some fiber, magnesium, a little selenium, and phytosterols. (Keep in mind that they are high in calories, so you probably don’t want to eat the whole platter in one sitting. That’s why I said a little bit goes a long way with this recipe.)
Capri Lemon Chocolate Bars
Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw
Yield one 8-inch glass baking dish
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
3 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 dates, pitted, soaked 1 hour, drained
1/2 cup dried apple, soaked 1 hour, drained
8 dates, pitted, soaked 1 hour (reserve “soak water”)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons “soak water”
3 tablespoons raw chocolate or carob*
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup coconut oil
For the bars: Process the nuts in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until coarsely ground. Add the lemon extract, agave, lemon juice, and process to mix. Add the dates and dried apple and process until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Press (or spread) the mixture into the bottom of the glass baking dish. Place in the freezer while you make the frosting.
For the frosting: Blend all of the ingredients together (don’t worry about blending the macadamia nuts until entirely smooth if you don’t want; they can add a nice texture to the frosting). Spread on top of the bars. Place in the freezer for about an hour. After they “set” you can store them in the refrigerator (up to 5 days) or in the freezer (up to 6 months).
*Truly raw carob is available here.
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Another exciting day! My 7th book is now available in print, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks. This book is filled with tons of DELICIOUS beverage recipes, tips, and information. Getting all of the nutrition and anti-oxidants your body needs for maximum health is SUPER EASY once you start eating Raw plant-based foods every day, and one of the easiest ways to do this consistently is to DRINK THEM! Great photos available here. Which are your favorites?
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Whoo-Whee!!! I’m excited to announce that my 6th book is now available in print - Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Soups! This book is filled with super delicious, EASY, and satisfying soups.
Here are 3 reasons I love Raw vegan soups!
I can whip up a delicious Raw soup fast (anywhere from 5-15 minutes) and have enough servings to last a few days. Raw soups are a quick, nutritious, and hearty solution. Plus, they’re easy to transport and consume. When I’m running errands, I simply drink my Raw soup straight from a glass mason jar.
Raw vegan soups are a staple in my diet because they give me loads of energy. (They’re a blended food so they’re easier on digestion).
These soups can be an entire meal, a mid-day snack, or complement a meal as an appetizer or side dish. They also can be enjoyed all year long. During the summer months, I enjoy cold and refreshing Raw soups, and in the chilly winter months I simply warm my Raw soups up a bit to give me that cozy comfy feeling (without cooking them of course).
Which photo(s) do you like best? I’m taking a survey and would love your opinion. Check out the photos here: Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Soups (photos) (Be sure to view the larger image.)
Next up: My 7th book should be available in print from Amazon as early as next week – Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks
Saturday, December 13th, 2008
Whoo-Whee!!! I’m so happy! My 5th book is now available in print – Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Entrees! I’m extremely proud of this baby. It’s filled with scrumptiously delicious, fun, and satisfying Raw vegan entree recipes!
You know the drill – I’m taking a survey of your favorite photo(s). Warning: They’ll all probably make you drool, so get a napkin or a tissue before clicking the link for the photo gallery ;)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
Exciting news! My third and fourth books are now available in print on Amazon.
Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Desserts
Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Sides & Snacks
Also! We have new photos uploaded in the photo gallery and I’m taking a survey… What are your favorite photos for both books! Check out the photos here:
Photo Gallery – Desserts
Photo Gallery – Sides & Snacks
Friday, December 5th, 2008
Today’s Raw food is simple… and I mean super simple. No equipment is needed (other than a knife for the avocado). With my crazy schedule lately from getting all of my ebooks published into print books, I’m attracted to noshing in its simplest form. Today is comprised of lovely, flavorful, organic whole foods.
This menu is fresh, delicious, and fills me with tons of energy.
3 persimmons (yes, I’m still crazed for them… forever)
3 bananas (always appreciative of how inexpensive and versatile these are)
1 avocado (tons of fiber and vitamins, love the squish factor)
3 carrots (adore their light sweet flavor, price, and CRUNCH!)
1/4 cup hemp seeds (chlorophyll, essential amino and fatty acids: these are one-stop-shopping)
3 stalks celery (green, crunchy, and slightly salty)
uummm…. okay, and Laughing Giraffe’s Snakaroons will be in my tummy tonight (still falls in line with my simplicity theme since I didn’t have to make them!). We’re going to see the movie Four Christmases and I’m Sneaking in my Snakaroons! :)